miss pirisi

Gabriella 0051

Carla Coulson Photograph for Miss Pirisi

Je suis Miss Pirisi de Sydney.

I’m Miss Pirisi, an ex-Sydney girl, an Australian expatriate living in Paris (since 2009) and a former student of the Intensive Professional Program in French Pastry in 2013 of the school of gastronomy, FERRANDI in Paris. I signed up to jam pack 660 hours of intensive lessons over 5 months to learn haute couture de la patisserie.

Since the program I’ve had the opportunity to intern in the following kitchens:  Le Jules Verne Alain Ducasse in the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel), Franck Daubos pâtissier-chocolatier, Michalak Masterclass, La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac and Trianon Palace in Versailles, and finally at a local artisan, Chez Olivier Le Boulanger.

In July 2015, I graduated from another pastry program, the CAP reconversion diplome en patisserie. A CAP is in fact the official diploma recognised in France and is abbreviated for, Le Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP). The school I attended was TECOMAH (recently bought by FERRANDI), located in the leafy suburb of Joey-en-Josas in Versailles. The CAP program works in a rotation with the school and internship throughout the year.

DSC_6650 - Version 2At Chez Oliviers because it’s a petit artisanal patisserie-boulangerie I was able to practice a lot and hone basic skills which are really the foundation of French pastry (de la patisserie) required for the CAP exams: pate a choux, viennoiserie, tarts and entremets  I sat for and passed my exams which was all in French. I am happy to say I am now officially a French patissiere. “Officially” because it’s just a piece of paper afterall. It will be the next undefined years of solid dedication to this wondefully beautiful and challenging trade that will determine what kind of patissiere I will be. I must proove myself.

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I’m bubbling with excitment because in 2015 I registered “the brand”, MadCharlotte with INPI (L’Institut national de la propriété industrielle). The next step was to register her as a business/organisation and me as an auto-entrepreneur  with the Chambre des Métiers. This was done on the 1st of March 2016, 250 euros plus a full day course on business at the Chambres de Metiers in Versailles and some administrative paperwork and MadCharlotte is mine. But wait! We, and I mean MadCharlotte and I, are still very much at the beginnig. Meaning MadCharlotte is in conception stage. A looooooot of recipe testing. MC and I are aware the patisserie market at the moment in France is highly saturated, the competition is fierce baby! It’s frightening, yes!!! Sleepless nights, many!!! Excitement level, RED HOT. The heart wants what it wants, so there’s no argueing with that. We know MadCharlotte is extra special, nothing but the best for MC which means nothing less but the best and ultimate luxury for her clients. “Everyone deserves a little luxury”, MadCharlotte.

When undertaking a French pastry program in Paris you will more than likely use the spare time you have discovering Paris by way of tasting pâtisseries of well known “maisons” such as, Lenôtre, Pierre Hermé, Café Pouchkine, Dimanche a Paris, Fauchon, Angelinas, Dalloyeau, Arnaud Larher, Carette, Jacques Genin, Laduree, La Patisserie des Reves, Carette, and many more.

Also, there are the 5 start Palace Hotels where you’ll find some of Frances top pastry chefs, (such as Cedric Grolet of Le Meurice) without a commitment to dining in the gastronomic restaurant you can simply take high-tea at the Palace Hotel: Bristol, Le Meurice, Shangri-la, Le Peninsula, Four Season George V, Plaza Athenee, Trianon Palace in Versailles. If you are thinking about applying to a pastry program in France these are some places available for internship, so it’s something to think about. Do you want to work in a boutique, restaurant or hotel?

When I was making enquires regarding pastry courses in France, and trying to understand the difference between a course for internationals and the one designed for French, le CAP, and which one would suit me best for my goals living in France, there was little information and little help. So here it is, a blog that I hope can help you make make more informed decisions about your possible new life in France and a career in French pastry.

Share your questions with me, your hopes, dreams and fears because perhaps there is something in common we can share and in turn it may help you navigate the path to your culinary future. For more frequent updates you can visit my Facebook pages: Miss Pirisi de Sydney- Pâtissière and MadCharlotte. Also, must not forget le fabulous website of MC: http://www.madcharlotte.fr 

A bientot!

Miss Pirisi

Last updated 30 March 2016 (Versailles, France).

24 thoughts on “miss pirisi

  1. hello miss pirisi just come across your blog yesterday and I had to read all of it . what a fantastic blog ,you explain everything so we can understand it, those entremets are unbelievable. in some of your photos you have the recipe page in the background is this from a book or is it your school sheets you also mentioned Christophe felders book, does that have the entremets that you made. are you planning on coming back to oz and open your own patisserie. until next time take care. from silvano

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    • Bonjour Silvano,
      WOW! What a lovely comment, I’ll have you know I’m blushing over here.
      If I do have pictures, notes or recipes of entremets they are the ones taken from school, at Ferrandi.
      There is no plan to go back to Oz. I still have so much to learn of French patisserie and I need to accumulate a lot of experience in a French kitchen. That’s the thing about French patisserie, a recipe is only half of it, the other half is a combination of technique, experience, science, art and innovation. And least that’s how I see it and feel it.
      Thank you for writing and reading. Je suis super contente de recevoir ton message 😉 Merci beaucoup !
      Blushing Miss Pirisi

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  2. Hello miss Parisian… What a lovely blog to stumble across. I needed some inspiration and was browsing the web when I came across your site. I am a recent graduate from Le Cordon Bleu and I completed the Diplome de Patisserie. I am currently seeking employment, however opportunities in patisserie in NZ are limited. I am seriously contemplating exploring opportunity in France however don’t speak french is the set-back. Are opportunities easy to come by in France?

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  3. Opportunities in France there are but under certain condiitions.
    Firstly, it’s to one’s advantage if they are studying at a school in France because it’s that school that will find you the internship you need to complete the hours that go towards your Diploma. The internship requires a contract called Convention de Stage and is binding between 3 parties: the school, the employer and the student. The Convention de Stage is your ONLY ticket to an internship in France (strict laws) and the contract is written up (your choice) for either 2 months (unpaid), 3 months (paid minimum 436 euros) or 6 months (paid minimum 436 euros). If you are a non-EU citizen and you have come to the end of your internship you can ask your employer to keep you however you will need a Working Visa because by then you will have exhausted your Student Visa. To get the Working Visa you’ll be required to return to NZ, then on your return it’s not garanteed your last employer (where you interned) will have a job for you. Once your Student Visa and Working Visa are exhausted in the majority of cases you have no choice to return home. In France to gain a CDI or CDII employment contract you need to be either French or an EU citizen. If you are not either you will be fighting a loosing battle unless there is some miracle in the world and it comes your way. The French employers have a lot of paperwork to do, it costs them to do that paperwork and paperwork can take months to do, they also pay high taxes and penalties, so to have a Non-French, Non-EU is not at all an attractive option for them.

    Unless you know a patissier personally, or you can manage to get a Convention de Stage from a school in France unfortunately your entry is blocked. I’m sorry to give you not the news you were hoping for,but I see it time and time and again with internationals who try to break down the wall of French beauracracy and red tape and I’ve not yet seen or heard of a successful case. What my international friends do however once their Visas are exhausted they try for Visas for other countries like Belgium and Luxembourg.

    My advice to you is this. Find a French patissier/e in NZ, they’re most likely working in the 5 star hotels and/or Michelin restaurants. The most reputed patissiers in France have passed through hotels at one time or another, it boosts your career, you learn discipline, you learn how to work fast and in a team, you learn to work efficiently and of course there is all the creative bonuses. Once you are working with French patissiers abroad your chances of moving about and perhaps later on getting work in France may just be to your advantage. The French are moving abroad to America, Australia, Canada (and I’m sure NZ) to gain recognition and creative liberty, this is now the trend for the French. Also the pay is better. The pay sucks in France.

    I am currently looking for work myself, and as I’ve not been able to find one yet, I’ve chosen to take up an offer of another internship, unpaid. There is more demand for work here than supply. Patisserie as a trend has boomed in France. Exploded. And I’m an EU citizen, speak French, have my school Ferrandi helping me find work and I’m still out of a full-time paying job.

    So there you have it. Opportunities there are, but under certain criterias.

    Just to finish, I am a believer of follow your heart. So if you want to come to France, try to find work then do it! Maybe best to contact schools in France who offer international courses, there is Ferrandi, Le Cordon Bleu and someother one in the South of France, see what they say, perhaps they can advise you. Maybe you’ll only be required to do a short course in France and that may just be enough to get you the Convention de Stage you need to intern.

    Type in Google the following words to pick up schools:
    l’ecole (school)
    formation (courses)
    patisserie
    en anglais (in english)

    Okay, well I hope to hear from you and what you think about it all.

    Miss Pirisi

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  4. Thank you for the candid advice. It’s a lot to process. As much as I would love to be working in France, realistically it would be too big a sacrifice especially when employment opportunities would not be guaranteed. I took a huge risk when I decided to change career path and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu last year. I’ve enjoyed learning new techniques, developing my skill but most of all realising how much more I enjoy the creativity. Financially I have sacrificed a year of work for study and need to be back into paid employment. I was hoping to come out of study and straight back into work but it is much slower than I had expected. I am disheartened at prospects but need to keep being optimistic. I’ll keep my options open, perhaps in the near future I may consider the prospect of working in France again. Right now is getting back to the workforce. Love to see the kinda of work you are creating. Perhaps we can exchange ideas sometime. Thanks again for the information you have shared. It has definitely put things into perspective for me.

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    • Bonjour Parisian Twist,
      I totally understand, it’s the same for me as everything you describe. Well, I wish you all the best and I’m sure now you can make an informed decision, and if anytime you still have more questions feel free to pass by here again. Bon courage!

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  5. Hi Miss Pirisi!
    My name is angel and I’m 16 now.
    I’m very interested in culinary and have a plan to go to culinary school in new zealand.
    However,i don’t have much skill in cooking and i’m afraid i can’t fit in.But i really like food.Can you give some advice how to solve it?
    Thank you very much

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    • Bonjour Angel,

      Thanx for getting in contact.

      The age of 16 is very young and nobody expects you to have any culinary experience. For example, in France it’s common to start a culinary program at the age of 15 or 16. Do you want to do cuisine or pastry? I did pastry. Cuisine and pastry are different in the work you do.

      It’s possible that you will start a culinary program and realize it’s not for you, or that it is. You won’t know until you do it, and unfortunately there are financial investments we must make in order to know the answer.

      To love eating food is another thing to making it especially in a professional context. The culinary world is a world that consumes you, it’s long hours, high pressure and a massive commitment, your social life will be with those you work with. Because when you’re not working you will want to rest. It’s very tough. It’s very exhausting. However, if you have a goal: you see yourself creating beautiful things, you are a perfectionist, you love the thought that you are making people happy by the things you make, you love to be part of a team and you love to learn and to create everyday then this is the industry for you. It’s not a nice industry at times, you are yelled at a lot. You are young so it’s quite “normal” having adults yelling at you, it just comes with the territory of being an adolescent. It’s much harder to take when you’re my age and just starting out.

      You are worried you won’t fit it. I think everybody worries about that. But you’ll make friends. You’ll all be at different levels though. There are some people who’s parents have restaurants so it’s easier for them and then there are others who have never actually mixed, mashed or cut anything. The more motivated, passionate and committed you are the more you learn and the better you’ll be. It does get competitive, just be aware of that.

      My advice if you are not sure to commit to a big expensive long program, if you haven’t already. Go to the schools that interest you, perhaps they have short courses on offer and do those first. You will get a feel of what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen, with professional tools, with professional equipment, under time constraints, how to organise your work, and doing all this under the instructions of a chef. Chefs in school are always nice. Surely in New Zealand there are short courses. If New Zealand has a Le Cordon Bleu then they would have them.

      Then just look on you tube culinary programs, there are always videos in professional kitchens. That’s another question for you, do you want to work in restaurants? hotels? If you wish to work in 5 star hotels and say Michelin restaurants then look them up on YouTube, you will be able to see the environment in which people work.

      Good luck and let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know.

      Au revoir,
      Miss Pirisi

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      • Dear Miss Pirisi,
        Thank you for your advice.It’s really motivating me.
        In le cordon bleu, I want to do cuisine and management restaurant because i want to build my own restaurant.
        If there’s anything i want to ask can i contact you through an email?
        Thank you very much

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  6. Congrat’s on you diploma !!!!!
    I did get the diploma as well this year !!! Yeahhhhh !
    I’m a french women and would like to go work in australia or New zealand, and i’m wondering if you’d know wich Australian diploma the CAP is similar to, is it a certificate III or certificate IV ????? can’t find any informations on the web !!! 😦 Cheers 😉

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